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Off the Wire
John McCartney and Herald staff
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April 26  |  Associated Press
MOSCOW — A court in southern Russia has sentenced three young women to brief jail terms for making a video showing them twerking next to a World War II memorial.Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ victory in the World War II next month, an emotionally charged holiday the Kremlin has been using for propaganda purposes.

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April 2  |  Associated Press
Too much iced tea caused kidney woes
NEW YORK — Doctors traced an Arkansas man’s kidney failure to an unusual cause — his habit of drinking a gallon of iced tea each day.They ruled out several potential causes before stumbling on a reason for the 56-year-old man’s kidney problems. He said he drank about 16 8-ounce cups of iced tea every day. Black tea has a chemical known to cause kidney stones or even kidney failure in excessive amounts.

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April 1  |  By Erin C.J. Robertson The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Looks like the marijuana lobby is in need of a fresh face to front its lobbying effort on the Hill.The National Cannabis Industry Association wants Congress to see pot smokers as respectable professionals, not stoned slackers, so they relieved “Cheech and Chong” actor Tommy Chong of his scheduled gig as the group’s chief marijuana activist on an upcoming Hill visit.

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March 31  |  Associated Press
POST FALLS, Idaho — Police say a northern Idaho man called 911 a dozen times to report being overcharged at a bar and now faces a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.Post Falls police Capt. Pat Knight says an officer gave Phillip Poissonnier of Post Falls a ride home after he was kicked out of Club Tequila just after 1 a.m. Monday.Knight told Spokane television station KXLY that Poissonnier then made 12 emergency calls, the first wanting officers to come back to discuss his bar tab.

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March 19  |  By Clint Davis Scripps National Desk
Charging for spells unethical, witch says People who practice witchcraft have been called many things over the years — add "principled" to the list.

A writer for The Daily Dot recently felt backlash from the online witching community after hiring a witch on the Web to cast a spell in aid of their marriage. According to a story on the news website, the writer was taken to task by one commenter, claiming to be a witch herself.

"That was probably the dumbest thing you could have...

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March 12  |  Associated Press
Archaeologists find centuries-old pretzels BERLIN — Archaeologists say two pretzels unearthed during a dig on the banks of the Danube in the German city of Regensburg could be more than 300 years old — and are little different to the doughy product available in the state's famous beer halls today.

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March 6  |  
Home pelted by eggs; cops can't crack case EUCLID, Ohio -- An 85-year-old man says his suburban Cleveland home has been pelted with eggs several times a week for a year, and police haven't been able to crack the unusual case despite stakeouts, questioning neighbors, installing a surveillance camera and even testing eggshells as evidence.

The homeowner and Euclid police suspect the eggs are launched a block or two away, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported.


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March 4  |  Associated Press
VANCOUVER, Wash. — An entire class of first-graders at a Vancouver elementary school missed their bus because their teacher lost track of time.One mother, Melanie Smart, told KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, that her heart stopped Monday when her son didn’t get off the bus, then she was notified to pick him up at Salmon Creek Elementary School. She says she had to get a cab.The school says it was an honest mistake and it does not plan to discipline the teacher for the error.

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March 2  |  Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. — A man in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been cited for possessing pot inside a container that had been slapped with a label reading: “Not Weed.”The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Lancaster County deputies stopped the man’s vehicle around 9 p.m. Saturday. Officers found the plastic sour cream container during a search of his car, and the driver acknowledged that the pot belonged to him.

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February 26  |  Associated Press
Llamas lassoed after running amok PHOENIX — Two quick-footed llamas dashed in and out of traffic in a Phoenix-area retirement community before they were captured by authorities Thursday, causing a stir in the streets and on social media.

A large, white llama and a smaller black llama darted through the streets of Sun City during the lunch hour. Cars and golf carts stopped in their tracks because of the wayward livestock.

The fugitive llamas were part of a trio...

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February 25  |  By Corey Williams Associated Press
Triplets mark one-month birthday
ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. — A suburban Detroit couple who have two older children are adjusting to life after becoming parents to identical triplets — a multiple birth that’s rare.The Whiteley family of St. Clair Shores celebrated the one-month birthdays Wednesday for Alexander, Nicholas and Timothy. The brothers were born Jan. 25 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, but spent nearly a month in the newborn intensive care unit.

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February 18  |  Associated Press
Punched man blames officers; camera shows self-assault
EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County authorities say a suspect brought in for questioning later punched himself in the face and then signed an assault complaint against detectives.But unfortunately for the suspect, a video recorder was running in a holding room where he’d been left after questioning.The sheriff’s department said Tuesday the footage shows Aleksander Robin Tomaszewski, 33, hitting himself, leaving two black eyes.

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February 17  |  Associated Press
SPARTA, N.J. — A man poured water onto a freezing road to try to fool officers into thinking the cause of his drunken car crash was black ice, police say.Twenty-year-old Bryan Byers, of Sparta, was arrested Saturday and charged with drunken driving and other offenses.Authorities say he hit a guardrail after running a stop sign in a BMW early that morning.

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February 12  |  Associated Press
PARIS — French children as young as 12 can head to see the highly-anticipated erotic drama “Fifty Shades of Grey” on its release Wednesday, after the country’s film board decided against giving it an adult certificate.France’s classification president, Jean-Francois Mary, deemed that the movie, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, “isn’t a film that ... can shock a lot of people.”

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February 11  |  Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — Authorities in Florida say a man and woman who were intoxicated had to be rescued after falling asleep in a dumpster that was later emptied into a garbage truck.Hillsborough County Sheriff’s officials say the couple had been sleeping in a dumpster outside a convenience store near Tampa early Wednesday. When the dumpster was emptied into the back of the garbage truck, they started screaming and banging on the sides of the truck.

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February 10  |  Associated Press
WASHINGTON, Pa. — A 75-year-old man helped in the arrest of a shoplifting suspect at a Pennsylvania mall by tackling him and threatening to break his arm if he tried to escape.Charlie Burton, of Fombell, says he was a vendor at the Washington Crown Center mall for a gun show when he saw an officer struggling with the suspect, 29-year-old Jonathan Fekete Jr.Police say Fekete was trying to get away after taking $200 worth of clothes from a Macy’s store Saturday.

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February 5  |  Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian news report says an underwire bra saved a woman's life after she was struck near the heart by a stray bullet.

Globo television network says Ivete Medeiros, a merchant in the Amazonian city of Belem, was hit after she heard a commotion and emerged from a market to investigate.

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February 2  |  Associated Press
PINEDALE, Wyo. — The new sheriff of a Wyoming county has banned his deputies from wearing cowboy hats and cowboy boots, a change that led one longtime deputy to retire rather than give up his Western attire.Sublette County Sheriff Stephen Haskell imposed the new dress code in the western Wyoming county that includes Pinedale, which True West magazine recently named a true Western town.

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January 28  |  Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — Bart the cat was hit by a car, buried and seemingly crawled back from the dead.Earlier this month, a car hit the 1½-year-old cat in Tampa. Bart’s owner was so distraught, he couldn’t stand the thought of burying him, so he asked neighbor to dig a shallow grave.Five days later, on Jan. 21, a matted and injured Bart emerged, meowing for food.

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January 25  |  Associated Press
Woman gets Burger King's bag of cash ROCHESTER, N.H. — A New Hampshire woman got a surprise at a Burger King drive-thru: a bag full of cash instead of food.

Janelle Jones said she discovered on the way home that the bag did not contain the sweet tea and junior spicy chicken sandwich that she had ordered Friday at the Rochester fast-food restaurant.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports that Jones called her husband and they decided to return the $2,631, which...

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January 21  |  Associated Press
Dumbbell burglar leaves DNA behind SALEM, Mass. — A Massachusetts man dubbed a "one-man crime wave" by police has been sentenced to up to nine years in prison for using a dumbbell in three smash-and-grab burglaries at jewelry stores.

James Jay Radler was sentenced Tuesday for two break-ins at Desjardins Jewelers in Beverly and one at Long's Jewelers in Peabody. The burglaries occurred in late 2012 and early 2013.

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January 14  |  By Tamara Lush Associated Press
’In Dog We Trust’ accidentally printed on sheriff’s rugs
LARGO, Fla. — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida has gone to the dogs. Well, at least its rugs have.Department spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said Wednesday that a new, $500 rug at the sheriff’s administration building said “In Dog We Trust” instead of “In God We Trust.”The forest green rug with the sheriff’s yellow badge was in the entrance area for a couple of months when the error was discovered Wednesday by a deputy.

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January 8  |  Associated Press
Manila traffic cops to wear diapers MANILA, Philippines — When Pope Francis visits the Philippines next week, traffic enforcers won't let the capital's streets get gridlocked if they have to answer the call of nature.

About 2,000 traffic enforcers who will be on duty during the Jan. 15-19 papal visit will be required to wear adult diapers, said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino.

Tolentino also encouraged people who will wait for hours to see the pope to...

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January 5  |  Associated Press
FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Authorities say a deer wounded by an arrow in eastern Wisconsin turned on the bow hunter in an attack that sent the 72-year-old man to a hospital.Fond du Lac County sheriff’s officer Jeff Bonack says the hunter was tracking the wounded doe through thick brush in Taycheedah when she leaped out and struck him in the leg with her head Friday evening.Taycheedah is 70 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

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January 5  |  Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut brewery is apologizing to Indians offended that the company is using Mohandas Gandhi’s name and likeness on one of its beers.New England Brewing Co. in Woodbridge apologized over the weekend on its Facebook page for the India pale ale it calls Gandhi-Bot.“Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a man who we respect greatly,” the company said.

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January 3  |  Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — There’s an extra moose alive in southcentral Alaska thanks to three snowmobilers who freed it from an avalanche.Marty Mobley, Rob Uphus and Avery Vucinich, residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, on Sunday went riding on the west side of Hatcher Pass about 55 miles northeast of Anchorage, Alaska Dispatch News reported. With Alaska’s unseasonably warm weather, they were wary of avalanches, Mobley said.

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January 2  |  Associated Press
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — “Seinfeld” may have been a show about nothing, but a psychiatry professor is using it for much more than reports that medical students at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital are learning about psychiatric disorders through Dr. Anthony Tobia’s “Psy-feld” teaching tool.

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December 29  |  By Amina Khan Los Angeles Times
You know how that guy at the karaoke bar singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’?” sounds a little off after he’s had a few drinks? The same goes for buzzed birds, according to a team led by researchers from Oregon Health & Science University.

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December 13  |  Associated Press
BRYANT, Ark. — An 11-year-old Arkansas girl paid a cabbie $1,300 to take her to meet a boy in Florida, but authorities caught up with the runaway in Georgia, and found her safe, after her parents reported her missing.

Bryant police used cellphone records to determine the girl hailed the cab in Little Rock Dec. 5 after talking to a 16-year-old Jacksonville, Florida, boy she met two years ago, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported...

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December 7  |  Associated Press
Amateur rocketeers cheer as porta-potty takes to sky
THREE OAKS, Mich. — Mission accomplished! A group of rocket enthusiasts launched a porta-potty into the sky Saturday in southwestern Michigan. It made an arc and almost landed on a spectator’s pickup truck, 2,000 feet away.A group of Michiana Rocketry club members planned the project for more than two years. The club is trying to increase awareness of rocketry as a hobby and prove it’s possible to turn a porta-potty into a rocket and launch it successfully.

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